This IN FOCUS issue, updated in January 2023, reports on the funding and technical assistance being provided by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) for youth mentoring programs, which provide participating youth a relationship with a caring adult who can provide the youth guidance and support.
OJJDP funds effective mentoring programs and relevant research, evaluation, and training/technical assistance. Along with its partners, OJJDP boosts mentor recruitment, enhances mentor-mentee matches, and increases the number of youths who have mentors. From 2017 through the first half of 2021, OJJDP-funded programs recruited 143,000 new mentors and served over 971,000 youths nationwide. Through the Mentoring Opportunities for Youth Initiative, OJJDP funds one-on-one, group, and peer mentoring services to youth who are at high risk for involvement with the juvenile justice system, including youth impacted by opioids and those on probation. In addition, grants awarded under this program enable mentoring organizations to provide comprehensive support services and interventions for youth who are at risk of or who are victims of child sexual exploitation, domestic sex trafficking, or labor trafficking. Training and technical assistance are provided by the National Mentoring Resource Center. Its free services include resources for best practices, tools, and research.